Saturday, May 10, 2008

Book review: The Know It All

Title The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World
Author: Jacobs, A. J.

Rating ****
Tags reading, intelligence, knowledge, encyclopedia britannica
I enjoyed reading Jacob's The Year of Living Biblically so much that I got this book, and I'm glad I did. Jacobs is an honest and amused viewer of his own life and character. He is a bit obsessive-compulsive, and that, really, makes possible what he does in these two books. In The Year of Living Biblically, he spent a year following all the rules set out in the Bible. In this earlier book, he decides to read the Encyclopedia Britannica from A-Z. He's honest in saying that at one point in his childhood he believed himself the smartest boy in the world, and that one reason for reading the EB was to recapture that feeling. In the book he talks about his quest, discusses the history of Britannica and encyclopedias in general. He talks about many of the interesting facts he discovers and various pursuits he undertakes to prove his intelligence, including joining Mensa, interviewing a scientist about intelligence, being a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, etc. It makes for a fun book, and he gets rather profound about the relationships of knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom.
Other authors

Publication Simon & Schuster (2005), Paperback, 400 pages
Publication date 2005
ISBN 0743250621 / 9780743250627

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